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Equipment Discussions >> Binoculars

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Rich V.
Post Laureate

Reged: 01/02/05

Loc: Lake Tahoe area, Nevada, USA
Re: Roof prism bino not suitable for astro? new [Re: ronharper]
      #5703206 - 02/27/13 10:30 AM

I agree that if I spent untold hours chasing down birds under a wide variety of weather conditions, I'd probably be using a roof prism binocular.

I live in Nevada, though, and it's usually quite dry; my two little Nikon EII Porros provide all I need under most conditions here. I have one 42mm roof prism bino for general "hard duty" use in poor weather or for travel.

Getting back to the thread title, roof prism binos are certainly suitable for astro use. My Miyauchi Saturn 100mm binoculars are entirely made for astro use and they definitely use a roof prism design...


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Carpal Tunnel

Reged: 07/22/03

Loc: Lake Michigan Watershed
Re: Roof prism bino not suitable for astro? new [Re: OneGear]
      #5703476 - 02/27/13 12:53 PM


As Rydberg stated, it costs more to make roof prism designs equal to porro prism performance.

All other things being equal, this is true.

If you want to see this "in action" so to speak, hang out in the binocular section over at BirdForum. for example, every time there is a new 8x32 roof offering from the Teutonic Trinity, one of the first questions is, how do they compare (optically)to the Nikon 8x32 SE (a porro costing 1/4 to 1/5 as much) .

The all weather nature of the roofs is a big plus, if that is a factor for you, for instance you want one bino for travel to do double duty, it will probably be a 42mm-50mm roof.

The 42mm plus roof models from the top end of Nikon and from the Teutonic Trinity, make for excellent night glasses.
My cross-over travel bino is an old alpha roof (10x42 Leica BA).

Edited by moynihan (02/27/13 12:55 PM)

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scholastic sledgehammer

Reged: 08/29/11

Loc: Atlanta, GA USA
I owned a Vortex Viper Roof... [Re: moynihan]
      #5703618 - 02/27/13 02:31 PM

I can only add that I too have mostly written-off roofs simply because of what is and isn't important to me in a binocular. I don't go out to observe in the rain, even when I am looking for birds. So being waterproof is nice but non-essential to me.

I owned a very good Vortex Viper 8.5x50 roof for a number of months and I honestly could not hand-hold it steady. I tried a few different techniques including one that improved things quite a bit, but all my similar sized porros are still better. I believe it is because most of the weight of the roof was in the objectives, while the porros divide much of their weight between the prisms and the objectives thus making them better balanced and easier to hold steady. I would likely have done better with a smaller objective roof, but for astronomy you generally like to go with the bigger objectives whenever possible, and that's where many roofs seem to begin to lose their advantages.

Also, while we often discuss the typical lighter weight of the smaller roofs, it has been pointed out many times that a well made porro can be just as lightweight as a roof, and now that I own a lightweight 10x42 porro that point has come home. Similar roofs will likely still be more "compact" but the real advantage of this in a 8 to 10x42 still eludes me.

Finally, I like wide fields, and most roofs don't offer much along that line. Though the more expensive models seem to do better. We can argue all day about the distortions that follow the wide field images, but it's not so much that I want to stare at something off-axis as it is I just want to see a wide field. If the on-axis image is well corrected, I can deal just fine with most off-axis distortion. Even in astronomy use.

But yes, in the final analysis much of it is about the investment. If roofs were cheaper than porros, I'm sure I'd be looking for reasons to use them. But until that happens, I have little reason to invest the money. When I decide that I really want a binocular that fits in my shirt pocket, I may go looking again. But until then... not likely.

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